“Who wants to do the Harvest Moon Regatta this year?” Howard asked. This was in May 2017. We were sailing on a regular Wednesday night outing on Joe Pool Lake in Grand Prairie, Texas. Myself, Steve [Steve-o] and Steve [Stevie] jumped on the idea. None of us had ever participated in the regatta, although the desire to do so was high. Howard, who also participates in another sailing group, wanted to get a crew together and compete in this offshore race. Howard knew a few guys from his other group, also none of which had been in the regatta, who wanted to race. 141 days until the regatta
21 June 2017; 106 days until the regatta.
We scheduled the boat we would charter for the regatta. A 1994 center cockpit Hunter 42 named Paradise based at Kemah, Texas. The biggest boat I’ve ever sailed so far is 34 feet, so I’m looking forward to this Hunter.
13 July 2017; 84 days until the regatta.
Howard was the intermediary between the two groups of guys who had been identified as the crew for this race. Howard had sailed with me and the Steves. Howard had also sailed with Forest, Mike [Pilgrim] and Pat. But the seven of us had never sailed together; we had never even met one another! It was definitely time we brought the two groups together. What better way than dinner? Howard, coordinated the initial meeting at our marina restaurant. Immediately, we all developed a general rapport over our shared love of sailing. Over burgers, we began exploring how our new crew would mesh. We sorted out what our watch schedule would look like as well as determining who would Captain the vessel for the race. Forest was nominated and accepted that role. We also agreed to sail together every Thursday until the regatta to train and familiarize ourselves with each other.
4 August 2017; 62 days until the regatta.
After a frenzy of online purchases, I finally gathered the necessary safety equipment. Offshore Automatic Inflatable Life Jacket [and a spare re-arming kit, just in case], crotch strap for life jacket [this thing feels like it’ll hurt if I actually end up using it!], tether [gotta stay on the boat], water-sensing automatic flashing light beacon [so they can see me if all else fails and I end up in the ocean], and a whistle [required by race rules].
24 August 2017; 42 days until the regatta!
We finally have our first sail together as the HMR 2017 crew. This initial sail we worked on heaving-to, man overboard drills, and just general anticipation of potential sailing problems.
25 August 2017; 41 days until the regatta!
Disaster strikes in the form of a hurricane named Harvey! The strong category 4 hurricane caused massive destruction to both life and property when it slammed into the Texas coast. Among many other devastated towns, Port Aransas suffered great losses. This future of this year’s regatta was in serious doubt.
2 September 2017; 33 days until the regatta!
News was received from the HMR organizers and it was decided the race would still happen. The usual ending point was changed and it was determined that the race would start and end at Galveston, with the offshore race being a more traditional sailboat race.
21 September 2017; 14 days until the regatta!
After sailing every Thursday for the past several weeks, we’ve done our last practice session. The practice sessions were all (but one) aboard Howard’s Catalina 25 Our next sailing will be aboard the much more spacious 42 foot Paradise the day before the race!
24 September 2017; 11 days until the regatta!
The HMR organizers released the race course Sailing Instructions.
28 September 2017; 7 days until the Harvest Moon Regatta!
We got together and reviewed the sailing instructions, worked out the onboard meal plans, determined possible starting line strategies, and also attempted to figure out how to spend our extra time after the race with the boat. We’re going to have almost 3 extra days on our boat charter after we return from the race.
Stay tuned until after the regatta…I’ll make a Harvest Moon Regatta post (and video) and another post detailing what we do after the race.